Friday, 20 September 2019

cheeto christ stupid czar

In anticipation of this weekend’s Emmy Awards, NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross has reprised interviews from earlier in the year from some of the nominees, including an enjoyable exchange with performer Randy Rainbow well worth revisiting.
I had intended to post Rainbow’s parody vignette of the show tune “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” lampooning the 2017 Alabama senate campaign in which a sexual predatory with the support of another sexual predator happily lost his bid, the better judgment of the electorate prevailing, thinking there couldn’t possibly be any other number more on point. This interview and medley from Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera, however, are surpassingly good and address Trump’s latest loathsome antics.


There’s a really intuitive and simple feature in the mobile version of Wikipedia that I think makes it a quite indispensable feature for its capacity to generate serendipity (a rather scarce commodity these days) that allows one to find articles about features nearby. Without this exploratory function, I would have dismissed the Poor Souls Chapel, a wayside sanctuary that is very abundant in this region along with Bildstock and other roadside monuments, as something fairly unremarkable. I found however that this tiny chapel along the country road that we pass regularly to have a very well maintained and well connected page associated with it, which chronicles the history of the area through one act of remembrance and penance.
During the August 1078 battle between Oberstreu and Mellrichstadt, Count Poppo of House Henneberg was severely wounded and later died, being delivered his fatal blow here, expiring in transit, or according to local lore, imploring his sons to honour his memory with a pilgrimage site in view of his beloved Lichtenberg that watched over Ostheim.  The conflict itself was a direct result of the Road to Canossa, around a year prior, which dashed Henry IV to be restored as to the throne after his excommunication, and strengthened the position of his challenger Prince Rudolf of Swabia and his supporters, precipitating the fight between neighbours, who happened to be opposite factions. The medieval wooden pietà was stolen sometime in 1995 and later replaced, as was the earlier cross taken down and replaced with a sturdy one to better weather the elements. Be sure to check out the Wikipedia app and share what historical connections you find just under foot. 

a fungus among us

Though tasking an artificial intelligence to name any thing can elicit some rather choice and bizarre monikers, it becomes doubly strange when training on classes of things which already have been given a rather off-kilter and proprietary form of nomenclature—especially to be found among cultivated foods (see previously)—with mushrooms, wild and domestic, being no exception—reflecting our own odd descriptors back to us.
Pictured is—found in the woods, I think (do not use this site as a guide to adjudicate anything fit for human consumption)—boletus edulis, otherwise known as a porcino, hog mushroom, Steinpilz, stone mushroom, Herrenpilz, a noble one, cep (French—for its fat stalk) and in English penny bun. While not poisonous, it is easy to mistake for its inedible—by dint of extreme bitterness—cousin, boletus badius. A few of our algorithmically-generated favourites included Sapient Ink, Wizard Flange, Grizzly-Faced Duckytoot and Smiley Facecap. Be sure to visit AI Weirdness at the links above for some more automated taxonomy and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a post.


foreverspin: a lovely film exploring the cross-cultural phenomenon of tops by the design duo Ray and Charles Eames (previously) with a playful, cinematic score by Elmer Bernstein 

empire state of mind: re-examining the legacy of the Russian Revolution for Central Asia 

bereitschaftspotential: an abiding experiment refuting free will seems to have been overturned, via The New Shelton Wet/Dry

east enders: Spitalfields Life celebrates its tenth anniversary revisiting some of the Gentle Author’s favourite posts

long play: a major drinks conglomerate pledges to spin plastic straws into vinyl records in the transition away from single use items 

rendered environments: ambient animations from Georgian artist Sandro Tatinashvili

axis of rotation: a master-class in the art of the yo-yo

Thursday, 19 September 2019

cracker jack

In response to a petition levied against the fast food industry championed by two young people from Hampshire in southern England, one chain has committed to stop handing out promotional plastic toys with children’s meals, foregoing the chance for market tie-ins, out of respect for the environment.
Restaurants will also have an amnesty bin to return old, unwanted toys, whose plastic cannot be recycled in the collection schemes used by most municipalities for packaging, where they can be melted down and reincarnated as something else. The franchise’s chief rival countered that while it will not eliminate toys giveaways altogether, it will offer customers alternatives and look into manufacturing them from less polluting materials.


Though only producing four albums and disbanding after ten concerts together, we appreciated the introduction to the short-lived musical collaboration courtesy of Dangerous Minds to the Swiss Neue Welle group Grauzone (grey area) with their standout 1981 single Eisbär, their biggest hit charting at number twelve in Germany and number six in Austria.
Drummer and bassist Macro Repetto joined up with vocalist and led guitar Martin Eicher backed up by Eicher’s guitarist brother, Stephen (whom later went on to forge an accomplished solo career as a chanteur), and saxophonist Claudine Chirac and had their first gig at a club in Bern in the spring of 1980, their musical stylings were instantly recognised as something resonant that spoke to the mood of the times. Their songs were remastered in 2010, the accompanying video produced for that release. Much more to explore at the link above.

the art of knolling

Coined in 1987 by a janitor named Andrew Kromelow who was working at Frank Gehry’s furniture workshop and at the end of the day, neatly arrange the tools whilst the studio was designing chairs for the artist Florence Knoll, one can find such precision presentations recreated everywhere, including emergency services around the world challenge one another to put their kit on display, like these first responders from Switzerland. The initialism and mantra ABK, “Always be Knolling” is in deference to Glengarry Glen Ross’ “Always be Closing.” Much more to explore at Things magazine at the link above.